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1st International Brazilian Dragon Boat Festival

Breast Cancer Survivors – Brasília – Brazil!!

Submitted by Maria Alice Selicani Perfetto



Paranoá Lake – DF – Brasília – Brazil, was dressed in pink! Pink was blended with the water and in the premises of Associação dos Servidores da Câmara dos Deputados (ASCADE) club – during the 1st International Brazilian Dragon Boat Festival – BCS (Breast cancer survivors) that took place from October 26th to 29th, 2022.


The event was oorganized by Cleusa Alonso –Remadoras Rosa do Brasil, and Alessandra Lima – Canomama and counted on the support of the local team Canomama and its commitee formed by: Cleusa Alonso, Larissa Lima, Fernanda Jordão, Juliana Sá and Kazumi.


A lot of work! A lot of hard work!!


A day before the event started, more precisely, on October 25th, 2022, there was participation in a public audience in the National Congress. The Project, which was handed by Cleusa Alonso to the Federal Deputy, Teresa Nelma, was transformed into a Project of Law. The Project proposed to recognize the movement of the Pink Paddlers in Brazil and the Pink Paddlers National Day to be celebrated every October 3rd and on the first Sunday of October as the Dragon Boat Brazilian Pink Paddle National Day. Now, let´s wait for the Project to be approved by the Federal Senate and signed off by the President. This is a great step taken by the Brazilian Pink Paddlers!


The paddling event counted seven countries with representatives from the Americas: USA, Canada, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil. There were 17 teams from Brazil from different parts of the country, 335 BCS were present. A resilience and celebration party which told everybody that it is possible to have a beautiful life after cancer.


International Breast Cancer Paddlers’ Commission (IBCPC) was also represented in this event.


Any event, big or small, has its major or tiny objectives. This event wasn’t any different! Were those objectives accomplished? Yes! If the objective was to make BCS understand what it means to be a pink paddler, this was totally accomplished. Paddlers understood the importance of paddling a Dragon Boat and the benefits brought by rhythmical and, obviously, repetitive paddling.


Several teams, that had never paddled in a dragon boat before, were honored by a dragon boat paddling Clinic offered by LIPS (Linked in Pinks). JoAnn Moore – the captain – ran the session with some volunteers who gave a little help with the language: Ruth Ortiz. (Dragon Boat Bogota), Claudia Barbieri (captain of the Nina Rosa Team), Maria Alice Perfetto and Leonilde Favoreto de Mello (pink paddlers of Rosa dos Ventos Team).


The joy could be seen in participants’ eyes after they left Paranoa Lake. Thankfulness was in abundance after the experience, independent of the weather that made the water of Paranoa Lake rough. Pure satisfaction!!


To make the event come true, we also relied on the participation of drummers and steers from different parts of Brazil and countries abroad. That is: Eric Gross (Oregon, USA), Fernando Vasconcelos, Jones Andrade), Gelson Moreira Souza, Cleusa Alonso, Jaílson Tavares, Monica Hernandez (Chile). CBCa – Brazilian Canoeing Confederation also supported the event.


The Opening Ceremony was impressive. Foreign teams were hosted by their respective embassies.


The importance of the Friendship Race couldn´t be left aside. It was called Jane Frost Race. In this race, 3 dragon boats took part and there was a participant from each team in each of the boats, with every team taking home a copper, silver, and gold medal. The flower ceremony took place after this race and this always leaves a minute of very ambiguous feelings: pain because of those who left us, but also happiness and hope for life that goes on.


There was one complete team in the festival. It was composed by 22 paddlers, a drummer, and a steer. That was Flor de Lotus from Foz do Iguaçú – PR –Brazil. Congratulations!


While our hearts are overjoyed with the people we met, friends we made, the learnings and experiences we brought back home, we wait for the announcement of the next host and date for the next Festival in 2023.


Paddles Up!














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